What to Do When Your U.S. Passport Is Damaged?

damage-passportWhether your passport has been damaged via tears, normal wear, rips, staining, or water, it must be replaced immediately if traveling abroad. If the damaged passport involves your photo I.D., damage to the back or front cover, or any of the stamped pages, airline and customs officials have the right to deny entry into a country.

If your passport is even slightly damaged in any way, officials may consider it to be suspicious and question its validity. Hence, it is better to be safe than sorry and apply for a replacement.

The US State Department has the following categories for any damaged passport:

Different Types of Damage Passports

  • Water Damage Passport – Damage due to a Water Condition
  • Rip Passport – Rips or Tears Passport that make it hard to read
  • Suspicious Marking Passport – Suspicious markings on the personal I.D. page
  • Torn Out Passport Pages – Pages that have been torn out
  • Holes Passport – Unapproved holes or staples
  • Other Damages on Passport – Other Damages unapproved by customs officials

If you are in the US and you don’t need your passport immediately, go to the nearest Passport Agency. You can also go to a Post Office and get the application form.

The normal replacement time is between four to six weeks. If you need your new passport sooner, there are a couple of options for getting your new passport quickly. First, you can pay an expedited fee to the passport agency where you live for a two-week delivery.

Secondly, a professional expediter service will act on your behalf and submit an expedited application for a replacement passport.

Expedited passport businesses are registered with the U.S. Department of State and they provide various passport services to individuals, travel agencies, and businesses.

They work with national and international Passport Agencies to retrieve your confidential information. This information is verified through documentary evidence, which they will ask you to submit so that they can quickly return a new passport for your travels.

Necessary Documentation Necessary When Traveling Abroad

Some of the personal documentation necessary when traveling abroad could be proof of present address, date of birth, an original police report, and an affidavit affirming the damage to your passport.

If your passport becomes damaged while traveling abroad, then again you must appear in person at the local consulate, government office, or your native country’s Embassy. Travelers can also receive assistance at the nearest airport offices in some locales. In an extreme emergency, the consulate office or Embassy will issue a passport with a time limit which must be returned in promptly upon coming back to the US.

An additional option mostly favored by travelers is the services of an expedited passport service company. Expedited businesses have provided a new passport as quickly as 24 hours. They take the stress out of a stressful situation by replacing your passport in a very short period.

When travelers contact an expedited passport service and fulfill their requirements, the professional expedited company representative will appear at a passport agency on your behalf.

The passport agency staff will review your forms and confirm them. The agent will then issue you a new passport. The expedited service representative will send you your new passport according to the type of mail service and time frame you have chosen.


In conclusion, if your U.S. Passport is damaged, you must follow the protocols outlined by The Bureau of Consular Affairs to submit for a replacement. It’s important to provide all documents and information promptly for the quickest processing time with maximum security. Please be advised there will likely be additional fees associated with a replacement passport and that they may take up to eight weeks to receive in return. Be sure not to forget all of the many steps throughout this process as even the smallest mistake can lead to unnecessary delays in receiving your new passport.